Tight end class lacks clarity, but provides opportunity
The 2020 NFL Draft is fairly weak at tight end; it’s a bit more obscure than teams may prefer, but the unsettled nature of the 2020 tight end class paves the way for potential breakouts. And as we saw in Week 14, players are taking advantage of that opportunity.
At 5:45 PM, A.J. Schulte spoke about Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant, who had a stellar three-touchdown day in the Owls’ win over Souther Miss.
“Florida Atlantic is playing for a bid to play in the C-USA title game, and they’re relying on playmaker tight end Harrison Bryant to do so with two touchdowns and 53 yards on two catches so far. Bryant is one of the best blocking tight ends in this 2020 group due to his variety of responsibilities and great technique. He isn’t the fastest, strongest, or biggest guys out there at his position, but he’s smart and reliable and catches well over the middle. He is the ideal TE2 for an NFL team. He is Senior Bowl-bound and can make some noise for himself there in Mobile.”
Bryant isn’t the only one vying for real estate on the 2020 draft board, however. Brycen Hopkins has a chance to be the first tight end drafted in April, and Tony Pauline made a quick note of Hopkins’ upside during the 4:00 PM edit.
“I mentioned week 13 riser Brycen Hopkins earlier today and the need for him to improve his blocking, but what a game he is having catching the ball. The game is moving into 2OT, and he’s already caught 8 passes for 142 yards with 2 TDs. Hopkins also caught a two-point conversion, which was critical to send the game into overtime as Purdue tied the score after being down by 18 points with less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter.”
The FBS circuit isn’t all-encompassing when it comes to tight end talent, either. The FCS also has some intriguing prospects, most notably Dayton’s Adam Trautman, who Pauline gave a stock update on during his 2:55 edit.
“Last week, I mentioned the woes of one time highly-rated Portland State’s tight end Charlie Taumoepeau. The situation couldn’t be any different for another small school tight end, Adam Trautman of Dayton.
Stamped as a late-round pick coming into the season, Trautman turned in a career year with 70 receptions, 916 yards, and 14 TDs. He’s also known as a terrific blocker. There are some questions about his speed, as scouts estimated he’s a 4.8s forty guy, but I have been told Trautman ran a verified 4.68 seconds at 255 pounds before the season.
Trautman has already been invited to the Senior Bowl and a good week could help him secure a spot in day two of the draft.”
Trautman has risen to replace Portland State’s Charlie Taumoepeau as the top FCS tight end in the 2020 NFL Draft, and if he continues his ascent through the pre-draft process, he could be taken comfortably within the confines of Day 3. If Trautman can prove he has a speed advantage, he’ll seal the deal for himself.
Ian Cummings is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. You can follow him @Ian_Cummings_9 on Twitter.